Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Friends, Day One...

The morning after.  Denny's.  I have just dropped my Toyota Prius off for service and here I sit, dejected.  Sausages and eggs don't help that much.  

I'm trying to get this whole thing sorted out in my mind, and at the moment I confess that I'm confused.  The feelings swirl, the brain's in high gear, trying to get it straight.  This morning I woke to check out the primary results, and they depressed and, yes, truthfully, angered me.  Have I been overly attached to the Obama outcome?  This might be the Buddhist way to understand what's going on for me.  Attach yourself to a specific outcome, and be ready for disappointment.  The healthier, more practical approach is to follow the path of equanimity.

Ha!  Nice try.  The mind remains argumentative.  Here's the emotional quotient: I have reached a point where I'm trying hard to like Hillary better than I do.  No, that's not quite right.  All I know about her is what I read in the press, what I see on the television screen.  It's not Hillary I dislike, I tell myself, it's the tactics she has recently deployed in her determination to win the Democratic nomination at all costs.  I am reminded of--gasp!--Bush and his team in the last two presidential elections.  It's a matter of gaming the system, fixing the problem, blaming the opposing party, exploiting weaknesses, attacking where necessary to score points, resorting to scare tactics, innuendo, half-truths and even lies.  Bring in the "plumbers"!  Remember that one?

And then my mind fixates on the role of the media.  The media giveth, the media taketh away.  It perplexes me, honestly, that a Saturday Night Live skit should have proved so pivotal in turning things around.  It played on the theme of unfairness to poor Hillary--a theme she exploited further, and with great success, on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.  By crying unfair, she garnered the sympathy not only of the voters but also of the media.  They are so sensitive, these days, to the slightest criticism that they will reverse course on a dime if anyone whispers the word bias, and start asking "the hard questions" of the one they had previously--so we're told--fawned over.  

I find it interesting to speculate, by the way, on the curious fact that it was two satirical comedy shows that wielded such influence.  Comedy, and advertisement.  Of the negative kind.  The 3AM telephone call kind.  We Americans are notoriously fear-averse.  Who will protect us from the dreadful threats that so beset us?  Pathetic, really, that we should allow ourselves to be panicked into voting for the person who can scare us most and at the same time manage to assure us of their protective powers.  Think 2004.    

And is it not a peculiar paradox that we (I'm speaking of we "Americans" here, still: that's us, no denying it) appear to have been clamoring for change and yet so many of us vote for the nomination of a 74-year man who promises nothing but the perpetuation of tired policies that have already amply proved their lack of worth?  And an inheritor (inheritress?) of the mantle of a previous decade, now long past?  It turns out that in the matter of change, too, we are risk-averse. 

Ah, well.  Deep breath.  Be Buddhist.  Observe the peculiarities without getting attached to outcomes.  All is for the best, as Dr. Pangloss said, in this best of all possible worlds.  Breathe very deep.  And order more coffee and another round of English muffins, toasted well.  


thailandchani said...

Yes, deep breath. This too shall pass. I do wonder why you are so attached to US politics. :)

John Torcello said...


I actually wrote a piece the other day in which I alluded to a woman apparently needing to move to to Plan B...Then, after last night, considering the content in your post today, I wrote the following:

My Crystal Ball...

I’m going to tell you a secret... I have a sort of mental crystal ball that I use to foretell the own, and others...and, more often than not, I use it to fool myself into assuming and believing I can predict the way things will work out. it wisdom or just luck?, like pulling the arm on a slot machine...I actually get it right! And, I think, in my life, I’ve had a pretty good run at turning both the wins and losses of those pulls, the various twists and turns, into something productive...something transformative that helped propel me further down the road toward that next turn, that next bend ahead.

Could it be habit? or just human nature?, why I so often return to that faulty, cloudy crystal ball for clues?...knowing, in my heart...the answers I find there and I want to believe in are not really there and can’t really be predicted with any certainty?

I admit, most times, I enjoy the experience of the suspense, the drama of living;..the ambiguity...the confusion, I face in life; it’s’s full of energy and feeling! And yes, there are moments of despair; when I feel everything is so bleak, so hopeless...

But, I especially enjoy those brief glimpses, those occasional moments of clarity, when I know inside, without the need for that crystal ball, with certainty...that I’ve just experienced some real it it true awareness; ...those are the moments of real happiness and when it all seems so worthwhile...

John Torcello

PeterAtLarge said...

Chani, I guess it's because I AM an American--though of the naturalized variety--and I somehow feel responsible for the way my adoptive country behaves in the world.

John, so what does your crystal ball have to say about the election?

robin andrea said...

I don't know how I missed this post yesterday, Peter. I thought of you when I saw the primary results. I noticed in myself a twinge of sadness that Obama didn't win them all. I had expected and then begun to desire that he would be our nominee. I let the disappointment slip away, and remain committed to voting for the Democrat at the top of the ticket. I only hope that the candidates will direct their attacks on the real target, McCain and Bush, and not bloody each other. When they go after each other, they do Rush Limbaugh's bidding.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I started to write a comment here but it got so long, I decided to respond to this provocative post in a post of my own.

Please come over and shout me down if you feel so inclined.